Sunday, April 10, 2011

homage (part 1)

More about Jesus let me learn,
More of his holy will discern,
Spirit of God my teacher be,
Showing the things of Christ to me.

More, more about Jesus,
More, more about Jesus,
More of his saving fullness see,
More of his love, who died for me.
-Eliza E. Hewitt, 1887 

I'm certainly not the authority on worship.  That's for sure.  But I do have a sneaking suspicion that there are some misconceptions out there among Christians.  More than that, worship is something that is really hard to have an open and honest discussion about, probably because we all bring different conclusions to the table, and these conclusions are often very deeply held, sensitive issues.

For instance, we love to make worship all about Sunday morning.  And that really causes tension, since most of us can't agree on what Sunday morning should look like.  So, if we stop there, or even worse, stop with music, we're going to keep going around in a circle of tense emotions and defensiveness.

So, even though the issue of corporate worship (what the Church does when it gathers together) is important, and even though I have my own preferences and convictions, I don't want my discussion here to become more fodder for divisiveness and division.

So, anyway, here I go with some things that seem very important about worship to me.

1. Worship begins with knowledge.

This just seems so obvious, yet so important (and ignored).

I've said it a bunch of times before that worship is, ultimately, a heart response (I'll ramble a bit more about that later).  If there is no knowledge of and about God, there is no heart response.  And we can only worship as far as we have knowledge of God.

We can go through the motions.  We can sing the songs.  We can look really serious.

But we can't worship God if we don't know anything about God.  And we can't worship God if we don't know God personally. 

Both of these elements are absolutely essential.

This might seem obvious, but I think it's a real problem.  We live in such a disconnected, introspective, narcissistic culture that most of the time, I think we (myself included) are more worried about ourselves and our feelings and our happiness and our safety that the concept of knowledge, especially intimate knowledge, of someone else is a bit awkward and foreign.

But we have to push through the disconnect and the introspection and the narcissism and really break into a real, personal, intimate knowledge of who God really is.  We have to come face to face with the reality of salvation in our own lives.  And we have to put that knowledge into practice.

But now I'm getting ahead of myself.

When we not only know about Christ, but come face to face with him and what he's done, then we can begin to worship.

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